Macron’s corporacratic State blunders on, treading water as it does so. But for the moment, it looks unstoppable.
And so, back to business as usual. Like every French resident living in a rural area, I received a dinky little Christmas present from our beloved Chef d’Etat, Emmanuel Macron.
Some three years ago, when Macrony swept to power, he fulfilled his very powerful election promise to abolish the taxe d’habitation – a tax (based on the ‘how dare you have a house’ mentality) that is borne largely by the rich. As from January 1st next, the tdh will be no more.
Within eighteen months, however, the other local tax that every paysan must pay – the foncière – doubled in price. The President giveth, and the President taketh away.
Just over a year ago, the old communal poubelle (litter bin and recycling site) installed new receptacles for food waste, and gave everyone a wireless key that would open the poubelles. Nobody in politics or the civil service thought too hard about where tourists would put their ordures: but I’m sure very few of you will find that even slightly surprising.
This is the key passage from a creepy letter I received last week:
‘This year, you have made 39 visits with your key to the household waste bin’
The key, it seems, tracks the individual. It is a form of ID. For years I have been warning friends, “One day there’ll be a gizmo installed in the lavatory to record how often you shit”. Well, we’re on the way there: now they know how often I go to dump my shit.
A lot of right-minded people, reading that, were equally shocked to hear that they’ll have to pay €165 on top of the doubled foncière – which will ‘give’ them 26 poubelle visits, or once a fortnight. As a bloke living alone, I’m a relatively light user of the ordures bin, but even I needed 39 visits: the extra 13 visits will cost me a further €22. Most households make a weekly visit.
This year, the foncière itself is set to rise again, so you don’t need a degree in pure maths to work out that the real cost of the one remaining local tax has trebled. (France is, by the way, already the most heavily taxed nation in the European Union).
Ahaa, I hear you think, the obvious trick here is to chuck the key away and just dump it wherever the mood takes me….for example, the Elysée Palace. But no: returning to Manny’s little billet doux de Nöel, we read:
‘Even if you don’t use the ordures bin, you must still pay for the service’
The Macron régime in general (and the Boy King in particular) seem to relish confrontation. Already up to its neck in trouble with the Gilets Jaunes and their fight against fiscal injustice, the France en Marche! boys and girls have now begun the same creeping State Pension game pioneered by all three main British Parties after 1996. This in turn has led to a General Strike that has so far lasted three weeks, and shows no sign of abating. The Paris he inherited is now swarming with riot cops, tanks and illegal immigrants.
In the three years since he took office, Macron has managed to insult the American President, the Italian People, everyone who voted for Brexit, and the British government for “welching on its responsibilities”. When Spain began to take the brunt of more African migrants – and knife crime trebled within seven months – he dismissed the residents of Andalucia as “hysterical racists”.
In a great show of enthusiasm for mass African migration, the President plonked a staggering 35,000 illegals into a camp in one of the parks in a particularly upmarket arondissement of the French capital. (Once the media got bored with the story, the camp was quietly and rapidly disbanded; nobody is very forthcoming about where the 35,000 went afterwards).
But positioned as he is – a ‘centrist’ – he remains secure in his belief that neither LePen nor the Left could possibly contemplate working together against him. I have no doubt at all that he will be returned to power the year after next.
Boris Johnson has, if you think about it, pulled off exactly the same stunt in the UK. Recognising this, Macron has no changed his tune, and is heaping praise upon the new British Prime Minister. Obviously, he recognises a kindred spirit.
France is changing, and not for the better. In 1960, as De Gaulle got into his considerable stride, there were 600,000 village restaurants in the countryside. Today, there are just 30,000: only five in a hundred have survived. Now, a non-Government organisation called SOS is trying to reverse the trend, but it will struggle, because the primary cause is rural depopulation.
For the metrochic Bobos happy to sing the President’s praises, such a thing barely features on their citadin radar. And this has consequences that go well beyond their blasé voting behaviour. The overwhelming majority of professionals get their training at Universities in metropolitan areas – and this is especially true of doctors. Very few young graduates see any future, stimulation, promotion or general quality of life in having a practice in the sticks. The result is that – along with country life as a whole – France en profonde is facing a massive socio-cultural crisis.
When I first bought Slogger’s Roost in 1998, my nearest village had a butcher, a boulangerie, a pharmacy, a hairdresser, a Presse (newsagent), a dying restaurant and a small grocery shop. The nearest town had three boulangeries, three supermarkets, a thriving weekly market, two butchers, two hairdressers, three florists, four takeways, four restaurants, an undertaker and a bike shop. While my local village has been saved by an influx of euromigrants, we have no butcher, pharmacy or gp. The bigger town has been almost wiped out in terms of commerce, while the fruit and veg market gets smaller every year.
Until as recently as five years ago, however, one could normally get an appointment with a nearby gp within 48 hours. Now it can take over three weeks. My nearest (fairly young) doctor is exhausted by overwork. For while depopulation saw off the restaurants, foreign residents and an increasing number of French urbanites are buying older properties to restore in idyllic areas. They, in turn, are killing the doctors.
Politico-economic ideologues of every hue share one common point: they never think about where such trends will end up. When asked – very occasionally – what they feel about such things, they evade, they woffle, they smile….and continue, undismayed.
Which might explain the bizarre news that, after a five-year battle, McDonalds finally got permission to open a “McDo” on the Île d’Oléron, a tiny island just off La Rochelle in the Charente-Maritime. This is Île d’Oléron:
Go figure. I’m damned if I can.